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It’s still winter

rainDeep cold, rain, sleet and snow still prevail on the Go Local Food fields this week. Nothing can really be done outside. Even the attempts to put in and tighten the screws on the frame where the small dome used to be was beyond the fingers of the willing work shares due to the sheer cold freezing fingers to metal on Wednesday.

So everyone retired into the warmer working poly tunnel to sort out the seed packets for the season. First these were sorted into alphabetical order then into boxes for each month of sowing. This is where Amy our work share who is a librarian by trade came into her own for taking charge of the system. Many boxes are now organised for the day when it looks as if winter is going to loosen its grip. Ian our grower thinks we may have enough plus some to fill up the fields and tunnels this coming season.

Ian is off on his annual “holidays” for two weeks to be a shepherd as his flock of ewes are about to produce lambs – starting next Monday he says. We can hope for a change of weather for both him, other shepherds and all the growers who have itchy fingers then.

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The Extraordinary Life and Times of Strawberry

Crop share for the week ending 17th February 2018

Lettuce

Ian says potatoes, leeks, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, lettuce

Better Ate Than Never

Growing well with Go Local Food

Lying Water

Flooding soil run off Kemble Thames source ‘Mud pours straight off this field near the source of the Thames. Photograph: George Monbiot

Water by farming at the scale of Go Local Food and using it in a targeted way: we are only using the water we need.  Collecting our vegetables from the fields means they come with mud – cleaning and packing vegetables would use much more water.

We are helping pollinators by preserving hedgerows and limiting our use of chemicals. Pollinating insects have been badly hit through insecticide / pesticide use but we need them to ensure agriculture continues!! 80% of Europe’s plant species depend on insect pollination; current estimates of economic value of pollinator services is in the hundreds of £ms. Read the review here.

Farming at a small scale with field margins drastically reduces soil loss.  Loss of soil from intensive monoculture fields / general poor land management has huge impacts on our rivers. It washes off during heavy rain and blows off in extremely dry weather. Diffuse pollution from agriculture is one of the biggest polluter of our rivers impacting not just on the long-term sustainability of our river ecology, but driving ever increasing costs for treatment of water for supply.

Eating seasonally means that we work with the environment.  Demanding out of season crops means more interventions are needed – such as heat and water or we are driven to accepting huge food miles to deliver what we think we need.

The world is feeding itself is nutritionally, socially and ecologically destructive way – Go Local Food is trying to do things differently.

Not On The Label is a fab book by Felicity Lawrence who describes how our food is grown.  Here she is talking about out of season salad production for supermarkets, she also highlights the impacts of being exposed to really high levels of chlorine has on the workers.

“One of the main sources of out-of-season salad for British supermarkets is southern Spain. Vast swathes of Murcia and Almeria have been given over to these thirsty crops. Growing them intensively in monocultures depends on heavy agrochemical use. The miles of greenhouses form one of the bleakest industrial wastelands I’ve seen. The workforce there depends too on migrants, many of whom live in makeshift cardboard houses without sanitation.”